A photo of Scott Morningstar and Ronni Zuckerman
Scott Morningstar

When Scott Morningstar graduated high school, he knew college wasn’t what he was looking for. He got a steady job bending tubes, but it wasn't much of a career.

The pandemic tanked small businesses at an alarming rate. Entrepreneurs of color were hit hardest. Carolina Small Business Development Fund President and CEO Kevin Dick tells host Leonede Inge about what is being done to help small businesses stay afloat during the crisis. Plus, Tina Travis founded Errand Girl concierge service during the last recession, and has grown and adapted the business ever since.  

This week in state politics, legislative Republicans approved a $1.7 billion package of federal COVID relief, as they continued to fight the details of how to reopen schools. Meanwhile Congressman Madison Cawthorn faced additional allegations of lying, as his party stood silently by. Aisha Dew and Clark Riemer offer insights on some of the biggest political developments of the week.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021.
Gerry Broome / AP

Last July, when the men’s basketball players at UNC-Chapel Hill returned to campus for the first time, head coach Roy Williams was, as he says, “scared to death.”

Britney Spears, a blonde white woman wearing a black dress, smiling at the camera
Wikimedia Commons

You don’t have to love Britney Spears to have heard her story. She was the shiny celebrity with hits like “...Baby One More Time” and “Toxic” that have now become classics. And then she was the woman whose love life, family dynamics and run-ins with the paparazzi were blasted across celebrity magazines. Now, the recent New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears” reveals how the same media and cultural forces that brought her to fame tore her apart.

N.C. Department of Public Instruction
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina State Board of Education has joined Gov. Roy Cooper and the state's Department of Health and Human Services in calling for schools to offer in-person instruction. But it stopped short of requiring all schools to go to Plan A ― daily in-person learning without requiring social distancing.

Seagrass meadows in the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary, like this one, are starting to decline because of changing landscapes.
Courtesy of Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership

North Carolina seagrass in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary decreased by almost 6% between 2006 and 2013, according to a long-anticipated report.

Monday marks the return of in person teaching at Wake County Public Schools. Students arrive at Davis Drive Elementary to temperature checks and health screenings in the carpool line.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Top North Carolina education officials on Thursday called for all of the state's 115 school districts to make available at least partial in-person instruction by the end of the month to any of the system's 1.5 million students who want it.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina legislators finalized Thursday how to distribute another tranche of federal coronavirus relief money earmarked for the state and adjusting how some previously approved funds are spent.

Iredell County confederate monument
Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

Officials in North Carolina's Iredell County have voted to move a Confederate memorial that has stood outside the court house for more than a century.

The former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

A Trump may be on the ballot next year — but not Donald Trump.

The former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr.

Dating Across Differences

Mar 4, 2021

Research shows daters 50 and older are more likely than younger ones to say it’s very important that online dating profiles include race and political affiliation. Laura wonders if being too specific about race, religion or politics leads to overlooking some solid romantic options.

Check out Dating While Gray on Facebook or share your stories and questions at


Logo for Rhythm Lab Radio
Radio Milwaukee

WUNC Music is thrilled to welcome Rhythm Lab Radio to its weekend lineup.

Courtesy News and Observer

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper received a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday as the state expands eligibility this week with the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Courtesy NCDHHS

This week, North Carolina is getting its first shipment of a new COVID-19 vaccine — the CDC-authorized, single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination. The state has also announced significant changes to its vaccine waitlist, with new categories becoming eligible for the shot as early as Wednesday.

North Carolinians have plenty of options for political news. From traditional newspaper and television outlets, to newer online-only non-profit outposts. And still more, in the form of organizations backed by dark money. On this episode of The Politics Podcast, an update on the array of news options, not all of which are created equal.

COVID cases are dropping and vaccine doses are becoming more plentiful. Scientists are even working on a pill that could prevent future coronavirus pandemics. But Lisa Gralinski of the UNC Department of Epidemiology reminds host Dave DeWitt that this pandemic is not over yet.  

Health Secretary Mandy Cohen and Governor Roy Cooper
N.C. Department of Public Safety

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that the state will more quickly open up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those who are frontline essential workers or have serious underlying health issues.

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of North Carolina's Coronavirus Task Force will hold a press briefing Tuesday to share an update on COVID-19.

Tar Heel fans gathered on Franklin Street on Feb. 6, 2021 after UNC's men's basketball victory over Duke.
Courtesy of Chris Ocana / The Daily Tar Heel

If the North Carolina Tar Heels’ men’s basketball team completes a regular season sweep of Duke on Saturday, don’t expect to see a party in downtown Chapel Hill.

Courtesy of Stephanie Baker

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.
David Baron / Flickr, Creative Commons

FBI Director Christopher Wray is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Jan. 6 insurrection, domestic extremism and other threats.

Winston-Salem State University basketball
WSSU Photography / via Flickr

2020 was a banner year for fundraising at Historically Black Colleges and Universities as HBCUs received a number of high-profile corporate and private gifts.

At the top of the list: philanthropist Mackenzie Scott, who gave more than $4 billion to organizations and HBCUs.

Employees with the McKesson Corporation scan a box of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine while filling an order at their shipping facility in Shepherdsville, Ky., Monday, March 1, 2021.
Timothy D. Easley / AP

More than 80,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson are arriving in North Carolina this week. State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen says the doses should start arriving this Wednesday.

Keri Brown / WFDD

Across the country, more than 250 employees at meatpacking plants have died of the coronavirus. Congress has opened an investigation into the outbreaks as the companies try to stem the COVID infections.

Apex Police Vehicle
Nick B. / via Flickr

A report on the Apex Police Department says racial bias is entrenched in its culture.

This photo of the red-cockaded woodpecker was taken on July 31, 2019
Greg Lavaty / via Flickr

The red-cockaded woodpecker has been listed as endangered for more than half a century, but that could soon change.

In the final months of the Trump administration, federal wildlife officials started a process to downgrade its status to “threatened.” 

Conservation groups say science doesn’t support the move, and that it could undermine gains made in part with the help of unusual public-private partnerships that have taken decades of work and millions of dollars.

A photo of Sontina and Reggie Barnes
Sontina Barnes

When Sontina Barnes joined the Army in 1993, she was looking for something new.

“I was a junior at N.C. State and I was burned out,” she recalled.

At the time, she was working three jobs on top of school.

Governor Roy Cooper is easing COVID-19 restrictions, following pressure from the legislature, small business owners and parents. Meanwhile, under a proposed settlement with civil rights groups, 3,500 people who are incarcerated will be released in the next six months. And, the new chancellor of Fayetteville State is not being welcomed by all. Rob Schofield and Becki Gray review some of the stories from this week in North Carolina Politics.

Gerry Broome / AP Photo

The White House announced Friday morning that it will include North Carolina in its federal pilot program of community vaccination centers. Starting March 10, a Greensboro site will receive about 3,000 vaccines per day.